LAST MINUTE DIY Chirstmas Present Ideas!

Posted by Becca on 12/22/2013 to Green Living
Christmas is a couple of days away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for a little DIY presents to show your love to the ones that mean the most to you. There’s nothing like a homemade gift to show someone you care. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite, last minute homemade Christmas (Father’s Day/Hanukah/Valentine’s Day/Birthday/etc) presents. What I love about this list is that these things don’t take a lot of skill or even time. Some of them are free or nearly free, and all of them are low­budget. These projects are geared towards families with children, but most could be adapted for anyone, I think.

For Daddy

Massage Shirt:

Materials Needed: Sharpies, a white T shirt, a toy car.

This year, my daughter and I made a Daddy Massage shirt based on an idea we saw on Pinterest. Basically, I took one of Daddy’s many white undershirts (he won’t even miss it!) and used permanent markers to draw a road scape on the back. Then my daughter and I worked together to color it in. We wrapped it up including one of my daughter’s toy cars in the box and voila, instant handmade­with­love present from my daughter to her Daddy. The best part about this present is that it comes with quality time. It’s a present Bunny and Daddy can enjoy together. Bunny will play with it and Daddy will relax as she plays. Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

Personalized Coffee Mug:

Materials Needed: White ceramic mug, sharpies.

Find a cheap ceramic mug at your local dollar store or thrift store. Make sure the mug is clean. Grab a couple of permanent markers and have your little one add their creative art. (You might want to have the child don a smock or apron if they’re still messy with markers). When you’re done, bake the mug for 20­30 minutes at 350 degrees, though some people suggest a higher temperature such as 425. Also, if you want the design to stay longer, it would be best to hand wash this cup. After baking, please allow it to cool before wrapping or using.

For Mommy

No­Sew T­shirt scarf:

Materials Needed: T shirt, fabric scissors

Grab an old T shirt that’s destined for the Goodwill—or go to the Goodwill and buy one. Cut across the entire shirt under the armpits. At the un­hemmed side of this circle, cut fringes all the way around. That’s it. It’s ready to wear. A stylish scarf that any Mom (or girl, for that matter) will love. *Note: You should use fabric scissors when cutting fabrics and they are sharper than regular scissors, thus parental guidance is a must for this project.

For the adoring relatives

Personalized Candles: diy,candle

Materials needed: A large white or off­white candle, tissue paper, wax paper, a blow dryer or embossing gun.

Buy a thick candle from a craft store. You may be able to find one at the dollar store, but in my experience, they don’t have a good selection of tall, thick candles. Cut out a piece of white tissue paper that is the size of the candle in height and width. Use crayons, markers, paint, or colored pencils to decorate the tissue paper. Cut a piece of wax paper that is slightly taller than the candle and long enough that you can wrap the candle in it and still have enough wax paper left to hold it with your hand. Wrap the candle in the tissue paper, placing it carefully so that the design is where you want it, and keeping it taut. Then, lay the candle in the wax paper, wrapping the wax paper carefully around the entire thing so that the tissue paper is held snugly against the candle with no wrinkles. Use the extra length of wax paper as a handle. Grab your embossing gun or blow dryer turn it on, aiming it at the candle. Hold it far enough away that the candle doesn’t drip, but close enough that it starts to melt. You just want the very outer layer of the candle to melt. Blow the heat across the entire surface area of the candle that you want to bond with your tissue paper art, turning the candle and readjusting where the wax paper lays if necessary. When done, pull the wax paper away and let it dry. I’ve never done this without having a wrinkle or two in my tissue paper, but I always get a cute candle to give the relatives or keep for myself anyway.

Christmas ornaments: There are many ways to make lovely Christmas ornaments for the family. I’ll give you two options here:

First Option Materials Needed: cookie cutters, cardboard, yarn, and a little glue.

Use the cookie cutters to draw the shapes you want on your cardboard. Cut out these shapes. Grab a length of yarn and wrap it around and around the shapes until it looks the way you want it. Either knot the ends or use a little Elmer’s glue to secure them. Attatch1`` some ribbon or more yarn into the wrapped yarn to hang it to your tree.

Second Option Materials Needed: Plain white ceramic ornaments, Sharpies.

Find some plain white, ceramic ornaments at your local fabric store. Use sharpies to decorate the ornaments. Bake them for 20 minutes at 350 and let them cool before wrapping.

For the Kids

Fishing Game: diy,gifts,ideas,crafts,kids

Materials Needed: a hula hoop, a dowel rod, some twine/rope, a couple of magnets, a hole punch, some paper clips, and cardstock/laminated paper/felt. You’ll also need fabric paint if you go for the felt option.

A fishing game is definitely one of the best ideas ever for little kids. I used this idea to teach colors and numbers to my Spanish students back when I taught kindergarteners and it was a huge hit. Now that I’m taking it out of storage for this blog post, my daughter is eagerly fishing as I write and she cant get enough of it. To make these you cut fish out of cardstock or felt and decorate each one with a number (fabric paint will make great numbers on felt) before coloring each one a different color (obviously, it won’t be necessary to color the fish if you use felt). If you want to use shapes or letters instead of numbers, that would work too. Affix a paperclip to the nose of each fish. Punching out a hole at the nose will give the paper clips a place to hold onto, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Place your fish on the floor inside a hula hoop and you have a fish pond. Now, cut your dowel to the correct length (or have the kind people at Lowe’s or Home Depot do it for you), and drill a hole into the end. Thread some thick twine or thin rope through the hole and attach a magnet to the end—a circular one is best if you can find it.

The kids will have fun for hours with this game!

Fort: diy,fort

Materials Needed: Large boxes, duct tape, box cutters

*This project should be initially constructed by an adult*

This is a really open ended project. You can either just use one, large box, or a couple of them and put them together. It doesn’t matter. Your child’s just going to love it because what child doesn’t love cardboard boxes? Sometimes, we wonder why we take the time to buy the things in the boxes anyway! As the giver of this gift, all you need to do is the initial construction. Cut windows and doors, duct tape a couple of smaller boxes to the sides for other rooms or secret passage ways, and place it under the Christmas tree covered in a blanket and topped with a bow. Couple it with a brand new package of crayons or markers and you’ve given your kid hours of entertainment. Of course, you can buy these pre­made, color­it­yourself forts in the store, but why bother when cardboard boxes are free?

Dollhouse: diy,dollhouse

Materials Needed: small boxes, duct tape, box cutters, glue, clamps

*This project should be constructed by an adult*

Again, this is a pretty open ended project. Grab 4­8 boxes of similar size and stack them together, gluing them and taping them where necessary. My husband and I found it necessary to use clamps and heavy books to keep the boxes together while the glue was drying. Use your box cutters to cut off any flaps and make doors and windows. Leave the doll house empty but wrap a box filled with scraps of paper, fabric, ribbons, thread spools, etc and let your child be an interior decorator. I even took portraits of each of my daughter’s dollies so that she could decorate with the dollies’ family portraits. It added a personal touch that she really enjoyed. I’ll tell you from a child’s perspective, they’ll love it. My grandmother made me and my sisters a dollhouse like this when I was a child and gave us lots of scraps to use to decorate it and we played with it for hours. My favorite part was the decorating.

Roadway: diy,road,game,cars

Materials Needed: the lid of a cardboard box, sharpies, toy cars. Optional: tiny people, road signs, building blocks, etc.

This will be made similarly to the Daddy Massage shirt, except your roadmap will be drawn inside the lid of a cardboard box (think copy paper boxes). You can either just draw the outline of a town and let your little ones color it in upon opening the present, or you can color it for them. Package it with a couple of toy cars and some other town pieces such as street signs, little people, and buildings, or just let the kids use the tiny toys they already have. Bunny has a great city blocks set from Melissa & Doug that would work great with this present and I know she would take all her Polly Pocket dolls and give them a ride around this town in her toy cars and trains.

Puzzle diy,puzzle

Materials Needed: Cardstock, ziplock bag. Optional: Glue and cardboard.

Print out a family photo, or an image from the internet of your child’s favorite Sesame Street character onto a piece of cardstock. Cut it into jagged pieces. Place in ziplock bag and gift to your child. If you’d like to make the puzzle more sturdy, glue the cardstock photo to a piece of cardboard first before cutting out the pieces. It would also be helpful to include a smaller version of the photo or picture for the child to refer to while putting the pieces together.

For the ladies

Jewelry: Materials Needed: stretchy string, beads

Knot one, large bead at the end of a string, and then set your preschooler or child down with a bucket of beads and the string. Let them string the beads to their heart’s content, and they’ll tell you when they’re done. They will get some wonderful play and hand/eye coordination time while they make something for a friend or relative they can be really proud of. If you use stretchy string (found in the jewelry section of your craft store), it’s more likely that the necklace will fit a wide variety of women and girls, but you could use regular twine as well.

Bath salts: Materials Needed: Includes but is not limited to sea salt, Epsom salt, oatmeal, essential oils, etc. Canning jars and decorative fabric and ribbons, a printer, paper.

There are so many great recipes for bath salts online. One year I decided to hand make my presents for everyone and I was delighted to find that bath salts were very easy to make. Google “bath salts recipe” online and choose your favorite one. Mix the ingredients from your recipe into a bowl and then divvy them among several mason jars. Print out instructions for using the bath salts and the ingredients if you’re concerned about allergies. Attach instructions to the jar and cover with the lids and some decorative fabric.

For everyone

Baked Goods: Who doesn’t love to eat? Bake your favorite treat or a variety of your favorites, place them on a pretty, paper plate and cover with cellophane. Top with a ribbon and a card and everyone will be pleased.

Fruit basket: Materials Needed: A container, a variety of fruit and other yummy treats.

A fruit basket is a variation of baked goods. You can put pretty much anything into it as well. First, find a container. It doesn’t have to be a basket. A mixing bowl or Tupperware type container will work. Find your container and then go to your grocery store and grab a couple bags of whatever is in season (generally citrus and apples at Christmas time), add some bags of pretzels or goldfish, a handful of wrapped candy, and top the whole thing with a plate of cookies (home made is preferable). Include a card/note/photo and wrap it in pretty cellophane.

No­-sew fleece scarf: diy,no-sew scarf,fleece This is pretty easy to make. Go to JoAnn’s, Hobby Lobby, or any other local fabric store and grab some remnant, no­pill fleece from the bin (Remnants are usually discounted) It is important that you use fleece and not another type of fabric as the ends won’t unravel when cut and hemming is not necessary. Cut out a scarf­size strip of fabric with the stretch is length­wise and not widthwise. Cut some fringes on the ends. You’ll have a simple scarf that anyone will to wear that was made with love by a child (or even their parents). *Note: You should use fabric scissors when cutting fabrics and they are sharper than regular scissors, thus parental guidance is a must for this project.

Rice hot pads: Materials: Fabric, sewing machine, dry rice.

Cut out a square/rectangle/circle, etc of fabric ¼ inch bigger all around than what you want the final product to be. Sew a ¼ inch seam around the fabric with the right sides together leaving 2­3 inches open. Turn it right side out and stuff it with rice. Hand stitch the open end together with a baseball stitch. The user will microwave this for a minute or two and can use it for aches and pains or just for putting in their pockets to keep their hands warm in the winter.

Christmas presents don’t really have to be fancy or expensive. With a few inexpensive ingredients and a lot of things we already have around the house, we can express our love through giving without spending a lot of money or time. The best part about these DIY presents is that they all include an ingredient that many store bought gifts don’t— love. And that’s the most important ingredient of all!


Date 12/22/2013
Kim H
Love these ideas - especially the fishing game - I might have to make that sometime! We are making salt dough ornaments for their grandmas tomorrow - I feel like I've waited till the last minute this year!
Date 12/23/2013
The massage shirt is really cute! I'm going the cookies and candle route for our friends.
Date 12/24/2013
judith martinez
I have a pattern for a really cute crocheted fishing game. Eventually I will make it!
Date 12/26/2013
Samantha Yoder
I love the daddy shirt idea! I'm gonna have to keep that one in mind for Father's Day!
Date 1/6/2014
vickie couturier
some neat ideals,I would have never thought of these,I let my grandsons make gifts for their parents,I get construction paper some paint an let me put their hands in the paint an make a yearly hand prints for them,you can see each year how much they have grown
Date 1/16/2014
Erin Rothfus
The Daddy Massage shirt is such a great idea!! I'm definitley going to keep that in mind for next year.
Date 12/5/2014
Jen C
I can't wait to start making these things with my baby!

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